Nigeria to focus on Blockchain and emerging tech with plans to deploy research centers

As an analyst with experience in technology and economic development, I am excited about the initiatives announced by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Nigeria. The decision to establish research centers focused on emerging technologies like Blockchain, AI, IoT, UAV, additive manufacturing, and robotics is a forward-thinking move that could significantly boost Nigeria’s tech ecosystem.

NITDA, the Nigerian agency responsible for IT development, intends to establish research facilities focusing on cutting-edge technologies such as Blockchain.

At the IoT West Africa Conference in Lagos, Kashifu Inuw, the head of Nigeria’s Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), made the announcement about the new initiative.

The director general announced that the research centers would concentrate on pivotal technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), additive manufacturing, robotics, and blockchain technology.

The entities would be deployed across “six geo-political zones of Nigeria,” as per Inuwa.

In addition to creating these research centers, the government intends to support Nigerian businesses in expanding their product development through these advanced technologies. To accomplish this, innovation laboratories, or “sandboxes,” will be utilized to create applications and eventually launch these products for public consumption.

As an analyst, I’d rephrase it as follows: The NITDA is actively engaging in training three million Nigerians under its 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) program against this background. By the year 2027, the government aims to instill essential skills in these individuals to strengthen ongoing initiatives.

As a researcher, I would interpret Inuwa’s expectation in this way: I anticipate an increase in foreign currency inflows into the country as individuals who have benefited from these training programs eventually emigrate and send money back home.

Shitij Taneja, the managing director of Vertex Next, the company behind the IoT West Africa conference, expressed his viewpoint that Nigeria holds great potential to become “Africa’s upcoming tech hub.” He is convinced that Nigeria’s vast young population and thriving startup scene make it a significant player in the tech industry.

“We’re holding IoT West Africa in conjunction with Africa Data Center and Cloud Expo Africa due to the vast opportunities we perceive in the market and the increasing number of young innovators driving technological advancements.”

Taneja added that the conference also seeks to draw investors towards Nigerian startups.

Over the past few months, Nigeria’s increasing interest in advanced technologies has become clear. A significant step was taken in this direction when the NITDA reorganized the National Blockchain Policy Steering Committee (NBPSC) in May. This restructuring aims to streamline the process of executing Nigeria’s National Blockchain Policy.

The country is considering partnering with the United States for investigating the possibilities of AI and other advanced technologies, even amidst ongoing legal disputes between the two countries over a detained Binance executive.

According to the Blockchain Industry Coordinating Committee of Nigeria (BICCoN), a group promoting blockchain technology in Nigeria, this development might result in strained relationships with international partners.

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2024-07-04 13:06